ghost world

May 26, 2008

Ghost World by Daniel Clowes has been the only comic book so far from the library that I haven’t enjoyed completely. It was a pretty strong reaction as well, as while reading the book I felt an almost physical urge to put it down. I had to think about why this was so for quite a while before realizing that far from the book being bad, it was instead too good.

I’ll explain. The book follows the lives of two teenaged girls in smalltown America somewhere. Its anonymity is key to the atmosphere as the girls don’t feel they are anywhere nor are they going anywhere quickly. They spend their summer holidays mocking the people around them as freaks, while trying to figure out their own place in the world, sex, college and all.

The book conveys their despondent, cynical take on life all too well, and I think that it just didn’t gel with my mood right now. Perhaps if I’d read it in the depths of a grey wet autumn day I might have identified better with it and consequently ‘enjoyed’ it more. And despite my misgivings about the storyline, I really thought the line drawings were excellent and beautiful in their own way.

I do have to say towards the end of the book the girls did start to show more of their true selves, and after all the smart talkback and wisecracks it was all the more touching. Maybe I did enjoy it after all. Let me know if you find and read it?

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2 Responses to “ghost world”

  1. Bobby.N Says:

    I had a similar reaction. Everyone kept telling me how ‘great’ this book was… but I think the story is hard to hold (for the first 2/3 of the book anyway). The execution is amazing, but there’s only so much yapping by 2 teenage girls an adult can stand to read. Perhaps that was Clowes’ intent – for the urge to put the book down is about the only thing one can do in the face of those two girls. It’s a good thing he can draw so well.. and maybe thats the strength of comics… could one get through the book as well only in prose? Perhaps that is the genius of it & Clowes. Perhaps thats the strength of his realistic depiction of these 2 girls?

    Overall, I think Clowes’ work is definitely never a waste of money. He knows what he’s doing – its just that the themes are sometimes hard to take… and he does them oh so well.

    -Bobby.N

  2. madi Says:

    i love this comic. i can’t stop reading it, over and over again. i can relate with it so well…my best friend and i are at this exact point in our lives. i liked the movie, as well, although it is a lot different than the graphic novel. they both have a lot of similarities, but a lot of it is different, as well. either way, i think they were both great. love it!

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